RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Renters have rights in the city of Richmond, and one of them is hot water. Several tenants at Ashton Square Apartments say they've run out patience. These tenants say they haven't had hot water for months. For some, it's as far back as Thanksgiving.
"The water has been ice cold to "lukecold," Kia Washington says. "A huge pain. Something as simple as washing dishes was ridiculous. Not only was it cold water... It was ice cold water, so I couldn't even keep my hand in it, let alone try to clean something." After almost four months of no hot water, tenants are fed up now, even though management says its going full speed to fix a busted boiler.
"I have to boil water in order to take baths," Washington says. "Usually what I do is let the cold water run. Then I cut that off and put six or seven big tubs of hot boiling water in there to kind of even it out for them." Tenants who are forced to change how they shower, bathe, clean house, do dishes and laundry say their electric bills are higher now because they crank up the heat or turn on space heaters to make the apartment warmer than normal for family jumping out of a cold baths and showers.
"It's three of us," Chiquita Pleasant says. "So it's boom get in get out, wrap up lay in the bed under your blankets just so you won't be cold. It's unacceptable, and we keep getting the run around. Here we are in February. How long do we have to go without hot water?" They're all annoyed by management's treatment of them and say they want the truth told. "You're telling somebody under me that they're the only one, and when I ask, 'Hey, do you all have hot water?' Everybody finds out they don't have hot water," Pleasant adds.
The leasing office staff declined to talk about how much longer or the cost for replacing the boiler. The office manager gave a number to call for comment from KRS Holdings, the property managers for anonymous owners.
Spokesperson Jennifer Whitlock says it's against the law for her to identify who the property owners are. She also said during a phone conversation that she does not live on the property, but she and everyone with KRS Holdings has empathy for what tenants are experiencing. She says they have been making "every effort possible to resolve issues as soon as possible."
"They should accommodate us somehow. Maybe give us a hotel stay. It's within our lease to have hot water. You are taking advantage of your tenants which is unfair," Washington says.
The Central Virginia Legal Aid Society is urging tenants to stay current on your rent and fight it the legal way. Set up an account and pay rent to the court until it's resolved. If you walk away, you can be held responsible for the remainder of your lease.
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